There is no plot to speak of, and the characters are woefully
undeveloped. On the upside, it can be a quick read — especially
considering its 1,250 pages.
The book, more art than literature, consists of the single word
“Jew,” in tiny type, printed six million times to signify the number of
Jews killed during the Holocaust. It is meant as a kind of coffee-table
monument of memory, a conversation starter and thought provoker.
“When you look at this at a distance, you can’t tell whether it’s
upside down or right side up, you can’t tell what’s here; it looks like
a pattern,” said Phil Chernofsky, the author, though that term may be
something of a stretch. “That’s how the Nazis viewed their victims:
These are not individuals, these are not people, these are just a mass
we have to exterminate.
“Now get closer, put on your reading glasses, and pick a ‘Jew,’ ” Mr.
Chernofsky continued. “That Jew could be you. Next to him is your
brother. Oh, look, your uncles and aunts and cousins and your whole
extended family. A row, a line, those are your classmates. Now you get
lost in a kind of meditative state where you look at one word, ‘Jew,’
you look at one Jew, you focus on it and then your mind starts to go
because who is he, where did he live, what did he want to do when he